Who is At Fault for Car Accidents in California?

Some states are considered ‘no-fault’ states for motor vehicle accidents, but California isn’t one of them. California is an ‘at-fault state,’ meaning that the person (or persons) responsible for a car crash will be held accountable for causing the collision.

Establishing fault can be a complicated ordeal and one better left for experienced car accident lawyers to attend to. And legal matters can be made far more complex when a car accident involves multiple parties and potentially several liable individuals or entities.

It’s also important to note that California is also a ‘comparative fault’F state. This means that even though multiple parties may be to blame for a car wreck, they may not all be equally to blame. California law seeks to determine the percentage of fault for personal injury claims and car accident cases. Also important to remember that injured accident victims may be liable for car accidents if the facts support the claim.

How is Fault Determined in a Car Accident Involving Multiple Motor Vehicles?

Determining fault for a car accident can be difficult in many cases and is made more difficult with every additional car added to the accident. As with all automobile accidents, an investigation will occur to determine what caused the crash. Partly the inquiry will seek to prevent accidents like this from happening again in the future, but their aim is also to determine liability for injuries and property damage.

In California, multiple parties may be held responsible for causing a car accident. This may include you, even if you were injured or believe you were the accident victim. If the investigation supports the notion that your actions (or inaction) were partially responsible for causing the accident, then you will be liable for a percentage of the damages.

The sooner you get your multi-car accident case in the hands of a car accident lawyer, the better. Your attorneys and their legal team will need time to investigate, speak with witnesses, and build a case that supports your claim and defends your interests. Do not delay. Speak with a car accident attorney right away.

In the meantime, do not discard any relevant documents related to the collision. Evidence that may support your claim includes eyewitness statements, photographs of the crash, police reports, medical records, and mobile device data.

What Parties May Be Held Liable for Damages?

As established, multiple parties may be held liable for damages in a car accident lawsuit. However, beyond the other drivers, who else may be held liable?

Potential parties who may be legally responsible for car accidents may include:

  • Bars, restaurants, bartenders, servers, hosts, and others in the business of supplying alcohol to paying customers may be held responsible if a drunk driver they served caused an accident.
  • Commercial trucking company employers may be held responsible if an auto accident was caused by a truck driver under their employ.
  • Government and city entities may potentially be held liable for damages if road conditions caused the accident.

What Causes Multi-Vehicle Accidents?

Common reasons behind multi-car accidents include:

  • Dangerous weather conditions.
  • Debris in the road.
  • Defective vehicles and equipment.
  • Driver fatigue and drowsiness.
  • Driver negligence.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana.
  • Icy roads.
  • Improperly loaded truck cargo.
  • Inadequately trained commercial truck drivers.
  • Poor maintenance.
  • Poor road conditions, such as potholes.
  • Reckless driving.
  • Speeding dangerously over the speed limit.

What Are Common Injuries Seen in Multi-Car Pileups?

Injuries seen in multi-car collisions mirror those seen in accidents involving fewer automobiles. However, the injuries are typically worse in car accidents with three or more vehicles. This is partially because an accident can continue happening for several seconds or minutes after the initial impact as more cars continue to collide with each other.

Common injuries in a car accident pileup include the following:

  • Broken bones and dislocated joints.
  • Bruises, cuts, road rash, and deep lacerations.
  • Burns.
  • Concussions.
  • Facial disfigurement.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage.
  • Loss of limbs.
  • Loss of sight, speech, or hearing.
  • Paralysis.
  • Spinal cord injuries.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
  • Whiplash.

What Type of Compensation Could Be Rewarded in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

With a well-argued lawsuit, it’s possible to recover economic and non-economic damages in settlement negotiations. For accidents caused by gross negligence or cruelty, seeking punitive damages may also be possible.

Economic damages include compensation for:

  • Future medical expenses for procedures, physical therapy, and medication.
  • Lost future income.
  • Lost wages.
  • Medical bills.
  • Property damage.

Non-economic damages may include:

  • Disability or disfigurement.
  • Emotional distress or pain and suffering.
  • Loss of companionship.
  • Loss of quality of life.
  • Wrongful death.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

If you were in a car accident involving multiple other motor vehicles, it’s crucial that you seek legal representation for your case immediately. Under California law, it’s possible that you, too, may be held liable for damages following the car accident, and you will want aggressive legal defense to represent your interests.

Legal professionals, such as those found at Chino Hills, California’s The Paris Firm, can help you seek maximum compensation for your injuries and mental anguish. We have years of experience helping clients obtain the sort of compensation they need in order to help them with medical bills, lost income, and psychological pain and suffering.

To discuss your case in more detail, please contact our law offices today to schedule a free consultation with our legal team. 909.325.6185.